“Surge Fatigue”: Mental Health and the Pandemic. And the Election. And Everything Else 2020 Has Brought.

November 25, 2020 | Filed Under Things I Think About | No Comments

This article by Tara Haele on Medium discusses the challenges to maintaining one’s mental health in the endless disruption that is 2020.

tl, dr: Our brains are not wired for endless stress. Be kind to yourself. Get help when you need it—and we all need it at some point.

“Ambiguous loss elicits the same experiences of grief as a more tangible loss — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance — but managing it often requires a bit of creativity.”

“While there isn’t a handbook for functioning during a pandemic, Masten, Boss, and Maddaus offered some wisdom for meandering our way through this.”

  1. Accept that life is different right now
  2. Expect less from yourself
  3. Recognize the different aspects of grief
  4. Experiment with “both-and” thinking
  5. Look for activities, new and old, that continue to fulfill you
  6. Focus on maintaining and strengthening important relationships
  7. Begin slowly building your resilience bank account

I’m doing okay with most of them, most days (except when I’m not).

The one I’m not managing well is #2, which is a surprise to exactly no one. Part of the difficulty (aside from being raised by a perfectionist Virgo mother) was that, at the start of the pandemic, I was suddenly at home, since all of my business travel was cancelled. This gave me unexpected time to do many of the projects I always said I’d do if I were ever home to do them, so the first couple of months (after a few rotten weeks of adjustment), I was actually able to make a lot of progress. Then I hit the same slump as everyone else, and it’s been a daily adventure (some days, more of a slog than a joyride) to keep myself motivated and focused. And some days, that just doesn’t happen.

Hang in there, take it one day/hour/minute/second at a time. Take care of yourself as best you can. Things will change for the better.

A photograph of a double rainbow, highlighted by puffy white clouds against a blue sky. The foreground is dark, and the background has green grass and two mountains.

Double Rainbow, Alberta Kaninaskis

 

[Image description: A photograph of a double rainbow, highlighted by puffy white clouds against a blue sky. The foreground is dark, and the background has green grass and two mountains.]

Poem: It’s a Long Way —William Stanley Braithwaite

November 24, 2020 | Filed Under Poem for Hela | No Comments

It’s a Long Way
William Stanley Braithwaite

It’s a long way the sea-winds blow
Over the sea-plains blue,—
But longer far has my heart to go
Before its dreams come true.

It’s work we must, and love we must,
And do the best we may,
And take the hope of dreams in trust
To keep us day by day.

It’s a long way the sea-winds blow—
But somewhere lies a shore—
Thus down the tide of Time shall flow
My dreams forevermore.

UPG Is a Reconstructionist Practice

November 23, 2020 | Filed Under Devotions, History, Things I Think About | No Comments

UPG = Unverified Personal Gnosis. If you are not familiar with this term, or why some people have issues around UPG vs. Historical Lore, I recommend this article by John Beckett and this article from The Rational Heathen as background.

I spend a fair amount of time on Academia.edu, a wonderful trove of well-researched, well-considered papers on a myriad of topics (some not-so-great ones as well—as with everything on the internet, think critically when viewing the site).

During a recent browsing session, this quote was highlighted in a paper I was saving to my library to read later*:

“The Roman religion consisted of worshippers holding disunified polythetic sets of beliefs. The overlap of these sets of beliefs might produce some beliefs that were more common than others, but the lack of an orthodox mandate for uniformity meant that the beliefs of an individual need not be affected by the variant beliefs held by another Roman. A man who believed that the di manes had powers to preserve life in their own right and a man who thought they preserved life by posthumously invoking the help of other supernatural beings could both believe, on a practical basis, that honoring the manes could help preserve their lives. A Roman who thought the lares were another form of the deified dead and one who thought they were the children of a nymph could both believe that the lares were important guardians of the home who needed to be worshipped. Worshippers could disagree about the nature of the God Mars or the god of the Lupercalia while all agreeing that these gods existed and had powers that could benefit the lives of the worshippers. Rather than searching for orthodox doctrines in the Roman religion (or seeing their absence as a weakness) it is better to study clusters of beliefs in the understanding that each individual variation could be important to the belief holder’s understanding of how to obtain the benefits that Rome’s pantheon of gods could offer the individual.”
Charles W. King, “The Organization of Roman Religious Beliefs” (2003)
(This is the actual paper which contains the quote.)

Does that sound like UPG to you? Because that sounds like UPG to me.

And, yes, the paper concerns the practices of the Romans. However, we have no evidence for a universally accepted, formally codified Norse mythos during the earlier centuries (you cannot read The Lore and sensibly conclude that such a thing existed). This paragraph (and much of the paper itself) could easily be rewritten with Norse references, and reasonably apply to the Norse traditions. Our gods have multiple by-names; it is difficult to conceive of an orthodoxy that would somehow include this extensive and diverse labeling.

So, next time someone insists they are a strict reconstructionist, refer them to King’s paper.

Meanwhile, know that UPG is historical, and continue to honor your gods, ancestors, and wights, in the ways that ring true for you.

*I cannot die until I have finished reading all the papers marked for later, and thus I shall live forever.

 

Weekly Insight from the Oracles for November 23, 2020

November 22, 2020 | Filed Under Tarot, Runes, Oracles, Weekly Insight | No Comments

Many thanks to my amazing Patrons!

Not a Patron yet? Click through to discover the wonderful perks which can be yours!

 

[Image description: A teaser screenshot of this week’s Insight from the Oracles, with just a hint of the cards and runes showing.]

One Nice Thing: Sonnets for Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” Concertos

November 20, 2020 | Filed Under One Nice Thing | No Comments

Thanks to this article from Alan Chapman at Classical KDFC (the classical music station in San Francisco, California), I learned that there are four sonnets to accompany each of the concertos in Antonio Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” suite—possibly written by the composer himself.

I did a bit of searching, and found the wonderfully informative Baroque Music Site, which includes a page devoted to the piece, as well as the sonnets in their original Italian and with English translations. The Baroque Music Site is included in the Britannica Internet Guide “for quality, accuracy, and presentation”, so I’m inclined to think the information and translations are reliable.

Christopher DiMatteo, a polymath extraordinaire, runs a site devoted to “Writing, Translations, Music & Design”, and includes his own translations of the sonnets. His translation of the “Autumn” sonnet was read on air during the BBC Radio 4 program “Something Understood” on November 25, 2018.

If you don’t have a copy of the Concertos, you can easily find recordings on Youtube to listen to as you read.

Enjoy!

An oil painting of Antonio Vivaldi in a red robe, loosely fitted, open to show the pleated collar, v-neck, and ruffled cuffs of his white shirt. He wears a curly, long white wig. He is holding a quill pen in his right hand, and a violin in his left hand. There are pieces of paper with music written on them, and a pot of ink on the desk in front of him. The caption reads, "Antonio Vivaldi, Anonymous portrait, 1723, Museo della Musica, Bologna (public domain).

 

[Image description: An oil painting of Antonio Vivaldi in a red robe, loosely fitted, open to show the pleated collar, v-neck, and ruffled cuffs of his white shirt. He wears a curly, long white wig. He is holding a quill pen in his right hand, and a violin in his left hand. There are pieces of paper with music written on them, and a pot of ink on the desk in front of him. The caption reads, “Antonio Vivaldi, Anonymous portrait, 1723, Museo della Musica, Bologna (public domain).]

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